“I hate this because I'm not a crier.”

“I hate this because I'm not a crier.”

Donna Harvey Jacobsmeyer offered that comment as she dabbed at the tears rolling down her cheeks Monday afternoon while standing in front of the fire-ravaged house she owns in the 2100 block of Hope Street.

While the two-story house at 2107 Hope St. was not occupied by people at the time of the Sunday night fire, it was filled with the irreplaceable – memories.

“It was my Mom's house and I lived here when I was younger,” said Jacobsmeyer, whose mother passed away passed away in 2008. “There were a lot of memories. A lot of furniture and stuff my mom had and my daughters.

“I knew there was going to be a lot of damage. A lot of loss for no reason.”

According to Fire Chief Sean Hampton firefighters were dispatched to the fire scene at 9:42 p.m. A short time later Jacobsmeyer's phone rang at her home in the 800 block of Vermont Street.

“I got a phone call from one of the boys who lives down here who is a friend of my daughter's. He called and told her and she called me and told me it was on fire, and I came up here,” she said.

The flames had gained a substantial head start when firefighters rolled up.

“When they arrived they had heavy fire coming from the front of the structure,” said Hampton. “They immediately had to set up lines to protect the structures on each side and then went after the fire. The bulk of the fire was knocked down pretty quickly, but most of the rest of their time on scene was spent sifting through the debris in there, making sure all the hot spots were put out.”

Firefighters remained on scene until 1:07 a.m. Jacobsmeyer remained on Hope Street until the last fire truck departed.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

“I'd have rather seen it burn to the ground than for anyone to have been hurt, or the houses on either side to have been damaged,” said Jacobsmeyer.

Hampton says the fire damage was significant.

“The front of the structure received quite a bit of damage. It would most likely be a total loss from that standpoint,” said the fire chief. “I'm not quite sure of the condition of the structure before the fire.”

Jacobsmeyer reports that plans were in the works to begin cleaning out the house this summer in advance of significant renovations. Those plans went up in smoke.

The cause of the fire remains a mystery.

“We have labeled it as undetermined, but still under investigation at this time and would ask anyone with information to contact the Police Department or Fire Department,” said Hampton. “Due to the amount of stuff stored in there - it was floor to ceiling in most areas of the structure - it made it extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact location of where it started and the cause. What we do know about it is there were no utilities to the structure.”

There was no doubt in Jacobsmeyer's mind regarding the cause of the blaze.

“They automatically know it's arson because there's no utilities to it and there's nobody living there,” she said. “It's pretty obvious.

“I hope they find who did it.”

It was the second significant fire at the address in just over a decade. The previous blaze occurred at 9:42 p.m. on May 17, 2006. Two rooms of the home, which was vacant at the time, sustained moderate fire damage, with the remainder of the house suffering moderate heat and smoke damage. According to Jacobsmeyer, the fire-damaged rooms in the rear of the house and a porch were removed.

Sharon Wisehart, Jacobsmeyer's mother, was the owner of the house in 2006.


Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com